In my past articles I have talked a great deal about the importance of continually developing your skill sets and how to use those skills to get where you want to go in your career. As a result, I have been getting a lot of questions about transferable skills, and specifically how they can be used to enter the cannabis industry. In this article I am going to discuss the power of transferable skills and how you can strategically use them to move into new and more broad areas of your career.
So, what are transferable skills? Transferable skills are the skill sets you have that you can use, change or morph to fit into other industries. Another way to say it is they are any skills you have that can extend to multiple employers across various jobs and industries. The skills you posses are your toolbox, so to speak, that are exclusive to you and that make you stand out in the crowd. You can look at these as “your brand” or the specific things you bring to the table as an employee.
Let’s face it – we are trained from day one that everything should fit in nice little boxes and we must “stay in the lines” to be socially accepted. The problem is that no true innovation comes from staying in the lines and most of us never take the time to examine our skills or take a “big picture” look at them. The tendency for most people is to look at their skills as fixed and not as something that can be expanded in other areas. This short-sighted approach can cause us to feel stuck and unable to break away from our “in the box” perspective. The trick is to closely examine those skills, look for ways that they overlap into other areas and industries and then strategically go in that direction.
The key is in knowing how to demonstrate and communicate those skills to others in a way that is meaningful to that industry. Martin Yate said it well in his Forbes article, “There are certain keywords in almost every job posting that relate to skills. These words represent a secret language that few job hunters understand. The ones who do “get it” are also the ones who get the job offers”. This really is the trick – by adapting yourself to speak their language you can demonstrate how your unique skills actually are what they need.
Yates ascertains that ALL transferable skills are in fact interconnected and he breaks them down into 7 key features, which are; 1) Technical; 2) Communication; 3) Critical Thinking; 4) Multitasking; 5) Teamwork; 6) Creativity and 7) Leadership. If you can figure out how an industry views and utilizes these skills and how you can connect your skills to their views - BINGO! Now you have transferred your skills! Yates also poignantly states, “Effectively develop the seven transferable skills and you’ll gain enormous control over what you can achieve, how you are perceived and what happens in your life”, and since perception is everything in your personal psychology, this can empower you beyond your wildest dreams.
Nothing is truer than in the burgeoning cannabis industry, which is rapidly evolving before our eyes. Companies are scrambling to figure out what the actual job skills are and how to develop job descriptions that encapsulate those skills. There was never a more perfect time to jump in as these things evolve because the sooner you do the farther along in the game you will be as the industry catches up to itself. The best way to do this is to add training and certifications to your resume that not only enhance the current skills you have, but also bolster those skills with the new industry standards. This will not only illuminate your current skill sets, but strengthen them with the current knowledge you gain through new and current training and career development.
Stephen Covey called this his 7th Habit – Sharpening The Saw, and is how you not only enhance your current skill sets, but also ensure you maintain your sharp edge in the future. In the cannabis industry nothing could be truer as professionals try to balance their current skills with those required as the industry evolves. One example is a conversation I had with Adrian Sedlin, Founder and CEO of Canndescent, one of the original and top cannabis brands in the country. We were discussing the need for standardized training and education in the industry and he shared that in regards to transferrable skills, the best trimmers he had were former manicurists. OF COURSE! This is such a simple yet brilliant example of how basic job skills can be transferred into the cannabis industry where precision and detail with scissors is a must! This simple concept is how the cannabis industry will standardize itself and how anyone can market their skills in such a way that they can meet the demand for employees in an industry that is still trying to figure out what it needs and wants.
Professionals from any industry can add an accredited certification, such as one offered at Western Education Institute, to round out their career portfolio. Whether you are an accountant, insurance specialist, retailer, HR Manager or an attorney, by adding just one certification of training you have launched yourself ahead of the crowd in regards to your successful entrance into industry. All industries do this, and cannabis is no different. As cited by The Quad, “trade school graduates with technical and practical skills are enjoying a surge in career opportunities just as various economic factors are changing the value proposition around the traditional college degree”. Whether you have a degree or not, having vocational training certifications is best and most cost-effective way that you can get going and sharpen your saw!
I encourage you today to think outside the box and about what your specific skills are, what you can enhance and how you can strategically use those skills in your career goals. As and Executive Coach and Trainer, I am always here to help on an individual basis as well as the amazing team at WEI. Let us help you develop an educational plan with tangible goals and objectives so that you can get to where you want to go. Visit Western Education Institute today to view the course offerings and set up a meeting with the staff to get your career goals and objectives. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “diligence is the mother of fortune” and your level of fortune depends on your choices.